Hi there, welcome back for another exciting episode of Lounge Talk With Laz! This week’s episode will be discussing interview tips and tricks that will help you ace a job interview. Let’s just jump right into it.
- 1 Interview Tips and Tricks
- 2 Interview Tips and Tricks Basic Etiquette
- 3 What are some tips and tricks I should know before going into an interview?
- 4 How Should I Prepare For My First Interview?
- 5 Psychological interview tips and tricks for controlling body language
- 6 What is the best trick to crack an interview?
- 7 Interviewing isn’t always about knowing the right answer
- 8 Following up with interviewers after the interview
- 9 How long should I wait to reach out if I haven’t received a job offer after an interview?
Interview Tips and Tricks
So, in episode 16 I discussed job interview tips, going over the application process, how to spice up your resume, your Linkedin profile, your portfolio and in this week’s episode, I wanted to take a chance to talk about the process for the phone interview, or the onsite interview, and how to stand out as an applicant for the position that you’re applying for. This post will explore interview tips and tricks for students, phone interview tips and tricks and interview tips and tricks basic etiquette.
We will first start off with the phone interview and usually this is conducted by a senior recruiter for the company that you’re applying for, and it’s a little bit more high level overview just to kind of see if you’re actually qualified for the role, and then just kind of review a bunch of information on your resume. This is more at this stage a screening process before they send the information that they get from the interview to the hiring managers or the team or to the department that you’re applying for.
Typically a senior recruiter will ask you one or two questions that are job-specific for the role that you’re applying for but for the most part, they’ll kind of see based on your previous experiences, how you handle certain situations in the workplace. They also take the opportunity to explain to you more about the role and what is about and what it will entail and it’s kind of an opportunity for you to ask a few questions yourself get a better feel for the company, and if you will mesh appropriately with their company culture, and vice versa.
So questions to consider during the phone interview itself would be, for example, what are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve faced and how have you created a solution to meet those challenges?
What are your biggest creative achievements or something that you’re proud of in your previous positions and along with those kind of questions, they might throw in a few hypotheticals or maybe even some behavioral kind of questions. So, be on the lookout for those.
You can take a look into interviews on Glassdoor and it’s a pretty robust place to look if the company is well known and it’ll have previous applicants kind of displaying the types of questions that they were asked whether they were in a phone interview or the onsite interview, it’s just a good way to prep. So that way, you’re not kind of floundering when somebody catches you off guard when they ask their questions. So be sure to take a look on that site and be prepared.
I found in my interviewing experience that the phone interviews themselves will only last about 15 minutes or so and a good portion of them will just kind of be you reiterating what’s already listed on your resume and giving a little bit more of an elevator pitch to the recruiter that you’re speaking with regarding what you did in the past and some of your achievements or accolades about yourself.
So be sure to keep it in between the one to two-minute mark for your elevator pitch and just kind of giving them a brief but decent overview of what you have done in your professional experience thus far to make that good first impression.
Interview Tips and Tricks Basic Etiquette
Two tips for the phone interview is make sure that you are friendly when you’re speaking with the recruiter. Obviously they can’t really see your body language, because they’re talking with you on the phone, so be sure to smile throughout the interview and by smiling and kind of having a more energetic demeanor of sorts. It’s a good way to kind of project that over the phone and it is noticeable if you are not smiling when you are doing the phone interview, so just be sure to smile and it’ll reflect in your tone when you’re speaking with the recruiter.
The other tip would be to come prepared to the phone interview with a couple of questions to ask a recruiter towards the end along with a good understanding of the job description. It’s honestly one of the worst things in the world. If they ask you any questions and you say “No, I’m good,” so you can either take a look into company news, to kind of see what’s been going on there. And you can I ask a little bit more specific questions or you can kind of keep it more high level and ask some things like what are the biggest challenges of the department so far? How did this position come to be open? What are the next steps in the interview process, those sort of things and you can ask maybe between three to five of them and save other questions for the on-site interview if they do decide to move forward. Some companies may do a follow-up phone call with the hiring manager, or a person from the department that you be working for and this might come in the form of a a video call or what have you, and again the same rules pretty much apply as to the previous phone interview and it’s not until you get to the on-site interview that you’re kind of in the final stretch with the on-site interviews themselves.
Those are much more rigorous obviously than the phone interview, some companies will only have you interview with the hiring manager, or potentially a team lead for the department, while other companies will have you sit on a panel of two to three hiring managers and team leads.
I found, personally, that I enjoy panel interviews to build rapport, more than just talking to an individual person, but they can be a little more nerve-wracking.
What are some tips and tricks I should know before going into an interview?
You’ll find advice all over the internet that tries to tell you, “Hey, don’t be nervous, be relaxed, and confident,” everyone knows this and it’s really hard to kind of exude that demeanor, especially because you’re applying for a job that you really want and you’re speaking with obviously experienced veterans in the field. Hopefully you would be at least.
And again, it can be really nerve-racking, so what I have found for me to kind of calm the nerves is before the interview, if you have the opportunity to go take a walk outside, go do some physical activity, or even just change up your surroundings. Go take a walk in the woods or in a park somewhere. It really is a good way to kind of calm the nerves. And I found that at least with walking allows your subconscious to kind of work things out internally and then kind of projects to your actual conscious in a weird way, if that makes any kind of sense.
So if you’re kind of thinking about things too much, and stressing out and you’re trying to figure out some potential problems that could arise if the interview… it’s a good way for your subconscious to kind of help you problem solve, or the very least just kind of calm your nerves.
The other thing, too, is obviously you wanna be on your A game when it comes to the on-site interview and a lot of people will take caffeine or even the nicotine gum or things like that, in order to be at the most mental clarity as they can and to be the most alert. But this is actually a really bad idea, if you’re taking those things like an hour before the actual interview.
In the morning I guess that’s fine, but caffeine and to lesser extent nicotine gum in general, they will give you the jitters of sorts and they will actually make you more nervous. So I would definitely recommend avoiding those. If you’re about to head into the interview in an hour or two in order to operate at your best and be at your best, you should get a good night’s sleep the night before and try to get maybe eight or nine hour to sleep, don’t spend all night cramming and doing research for the interview and prepping for potential questions they could ask, or that sort of thing, the day before. Because you’re gonna be up, awake, you’re gonna be nervous and it’s going to filter into the next day, and you’re not gonna be at your best performing.
When you do go into the actual interview try to arrive about 15 minutes early and some people will scope out the location beforehand, so that way they can kind of time traffic, how long it takes them to get there and they know exactly where they’re walking to for the interview itself.
And even if you’re showing up really early, I wouldn’t walk up to the front desk and be like, “I’m an hour early for this interview at three o’clock,” I would just hang out, go take a walk around or sit in your car, look over some notes and check in about 15 minutes early.
How Should I Prepare For My First Interview?
Obviously, first appearances are everything. So when you go to the interview, you should be dressed appropriately. Some companies, it really depends on the actual dress code. So even if the company dress code is blue jeans and a t-shirt, you should still show up over-dressed rather than under-dressed.
I personally always play it safe and wear a sports jacket, and tie, dress pants, dress shoes, and I’m not really sure what the dress code is for girls, but they could be to the same effect going off of first appearances. You do want to walk in and again kind of have that display of confidence, even if you are nervous on the inside. Be sure to make eye contact, smile shake the hands of your interviewers and kind of have that similar demeanor, even when you’re speaking with the receptionist.
Interestingly enough, some companies will factor in how you greet the receptionist when you come to check in, so whoever you’re meeting or talking to, even if it’s just a receptionist or just a random employee walking down the hallway at a company that you’re interviewing at… you should just greet them warmly, smile, make eye contact, ask how their day’s going, and even just make small talk, as you’re walking to the interview or the conference room.
And make sure there’s no weird awkward silences of sort; build that rapport and that demeanor even as you’re walking into the conference room, because a little goes a long way in my opinion at this stage of the game.
With the onsite interview, the company already kind of knows that you or any of the other applicants that have made it to the stage or qualified for what it is that you’re applying for and it’s really just a matter of making sure that the applicants fit the company culture, and that they would fit well with the team and that this is a person that you would want to work with every single day and not someone who comes in very hum-drum gloomy, that they are very communicative or team-oriented, that sort of thing.
Psychological interview tips and tricks for controlling body language
Once you get to the conference room where you will be holding the interview again with demeanor and your body language, just be sure to be kind of laid back. A few interviewing tips and tricks that I’ve noticed help me when I am interviewing is kind of leaning back in my chair, keeping more of an open posture and not necessarily crossing my legs but kind of doing an American-style like cross where your ankles are resting on your knee of sorts, in that way, it kind of helps to make sure that I’m not fidgeting under the table and bobbing my foot or my leg up and down and appearing anxious or nervous.
I’ll also clasp my hands in front of me so again that way I’m not exhibiting fidget or nervous behavior. One thing I did forget to mention earlier is that when you get to the on-site interview be sure to have a satchel or something professional… to carry a note pad and a folder with extra copies of your resume. I’ve heard that backpacks are actually considered to be that unprofessional walking into the onsite interview itself, so avoid backpacks at all costs.
And once you sit down obviously you pull out your folder with your extra copies of resumes, make sure that your hiring managers or the interviewers do you have copies of your resume to reference throughout the interview and then you can either go down notes on your note pad, beforehand, regarding the company and any news or things to reference back to or have your questions written out on the second or the third page to reference once you get to the end of the interview.
Once you get to the actual interview is important to reference Glassdoor, and make sure that you’re kind of aware of the procedure of the interview and kind of having a rough idea as to what to expect and being prepped for the potential questions that are going to be thrown your way throughout the onsite interview. Usually with a panel, the onsite interview will last maybe you between 30 minutes to an hour or with an individual hiring manager, they might last about 30 minutes, but be sure to get comfortable and prepared for the long haul, so to speak.
What is the best trick to crack an interview?
Regarding great interview tips and strategies, with the onsite interview itself hiring managers will ask you a combination of hypothetical questions, behavioral questions, and just kind of touching base on your elevator pitch for your resume and an anything that you’ve highlighted there. So at least for the behavioral and the hypothetical questions you should have your answers phrased in a way that incorporates the star method.
The star method is a structured manner of responding to behavioral based interview questions by discussing the specific situation, task, action and results. Just as an open-ended example I’ve been asked by interviewers in the past, if I’ve come across any challenges with my clients and if so how I addressed those challenges and using the star method you could say with my situation that my clients had a drop-off year over a year with their digital metrics and so the task for that would be to analyze their metrics, see where they dropped off and then discuss with my clients, new ideas or ways in order to boost or increase those metrics year over year.
And then you would describe your action that you took in order to produce results. So as an example with my client on social media, they experienced a drop off year over year of 30 percent and so I sat down and discussed with them creating a social media calendar that was catered to their audiences patterns of traffic and just creating more consistent weekly content using photos and videos rather than just text-based posts and by doing something like that.
The results showed a 50 percent increase week over week for their social media presence on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and then a month over month result produced a 15-20 percent increase from that same time period the year before.
I came just came up with that off the top of my head just now, but highlights the situation, the task, the action that you took and the results that came from that action. Then you want it to be a short, sweet, concise, between 30 seconds to a minute long answer in response to your question, and when you are providing examples, or answering questions from your interviewers make sure that you are never painted in a negative light or a negative result, and that you aren’t speaking poorly of any clients or any of the previous companies that you have worked for.
I have been asked quite a few times as to why I applied for the open position, or why I would be leaving a previous job to apply for a new one with this company. And the biggest mistake that people make is just rambling on about how terrible their previous company was. And you need to come up with a professional answer such as that you’re looking for new opportunities, or that it’s an issue of breadth versus depth, where you want to become more skilled in one or two areas rather than having a general high level overview knowledge of many different things, or that you are looking to continue or further your professional road map and that your current position with your company just isn’t allowing for that and that there isn’t any advancement available pertaining to what you want to do in the future, that sort of thing.
And again, as you’re answering the questions, make sure to make eye contact, smile when appropriate and it never hurts to take a few moments to kind of ponder, or think thoroughly through your answer to a question from your interviewer. If it’s a kind of a brain buster kind of question it never hurts to ask your interviewer, if you can take a few seconds to kind of think it through and you can also kind of write down the question that they ask on your note pad, and then it’s always a good thing to ask follow-up questions or just clarify with your interview or certain elements to the question. So that way you have a more thought out and formulated a response that will adequately satisfy whatever they were looking for.
Interviewing isn’t always about knowing the right answer
And with a lot of hypothetical or behavioral-based questions interviewers aren’t necessarily looking for the right answer, and that there might not be a right answer, they’re really looking just to see your thought process and how you handle questions or think things through and get a better idea as to your mindset is going into situations.
Again they will know that you are skilled or qualified enough to have made it to the onsite interview and that they are very interested in you to be spending about 30 minutes to an hour over their day doing the interview with you and again, just to see your mindset, your process, and to see if you mesh well with the company culture.
Once you get to the end of the interview, and it comes time to ask them questions then be sure to have your questions laid out. Ask between five to ten of them and again asked them things that are related to company news that are specific. Don’t just have very generalized questions but be specific and what you’re asking and just again, treat it as if you’re trying to get more insight into the company or that you are even interviewing the interviewers of sorts.
So be sure to take notes and write down their responses, that way it looks like you are a very serious about the responses and that you do have quite a bit of interest in the company itself and that you’re not just kind of sitting there dozing off as they’re giving you their formulated answers, in response to your own questions that you have about the company at the end of the interview.
So if you have business cards you can always hand them to your interviewers as another way to stay in touch and connect. Be sure to again, thank them for their time shake their hands, smile, make eye contact. And if the interview went relatively well good indicators are that they do give you their business card, they will show you around the office or again, they’ll just kind of walk you to the door instead of saying, “Okay well, see you” and then just leave the room because that’s happened to me before, and it’s like, “Oh well, I must not have done a good job at this interview” if that happened.
A few unique interview tips are to make the interviewers visualize yourself in the role, so I ask them questions like, “let’s say you do deciding before with this process. And I come in for my first day, sit down and at my desk, hang on my coat turn on my computer, what’s the rest of my day look like in this role” or even just asking them to show you around the office or the work place that you would be working in and it’s a good way to, again, have them visualize you in the shoes of the role already, and make an easier fit for when they are choosing between applicants and candidates.
Following up with interviewers after the interview
For the position that you’re playing for after the interview is over, if you do have the contact information of the interviewers that you interviewed with then you can pop them an email and say, very short and sweet, “Thank you for interviewing me” and kind of discuss what you learned more about the company based on the interview that you hadn’t considered and that you would definitely enjoy working with a company in the position. Or if you flopped up on a question that they had asked you in the interview, you can take a moment in that thank you letter or email and say,
You can extrapolate or expand upon the question, that you flubbed up on and give a more in-depth answer, based on a little pontification or further thought after the interview itself.
And if the interviewers didn’t give you their contact information, then you can reach out to the Senior Recruiter and ask them if you can write this email and have him or her forward it over to those interviewers. People think that thank you emails don’t really impact anything while others say that it might be what tips you over the edge and gives you that competitive advantage over other applicants and keeps you fresh in the minds of the interviewers. So my thought is that it can’t hurt unless you really screw up the email and just keep it short and sweet and again, it might be the determining factor that makes you a little bit more thought of in a positive light, if you are competing against a very similar candidate of sorts.
How long should I wait to reach out if I haven’t received a job offer after an interview?
Usually with the hiring process it might take between one or two weeks for the hiring managers to kind of get together and review the applications or the applicants and all of the information that they’ve compiled to choose the right person for the job. So I would wait maybe between one to two weeks.
And if you haven’t heard anything back, then I’d reach out to the recruiters and just kind of ask for an update regarding the hiring process and where they’re at with their decision.
And if more than three weeks or even a month have passed by, then I would continue going through with a other opportunities or conducting other interviews. And if something pops up in that time, then great, but if not, then you’re sitting there kind of wasting time and hoping and praying for an answer or a job offer from that previous company that you’re waiting from.
So that’s my experience when it comes to the actual interviewing process whether it’s on a phone or on site, I hope you found these job interview tips and tricks helpful in learning how to pass in interview that you’ll be conducting in your professional road map.
If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to the channel and drop a Like on the video if you haven’t already and I will see you next week for another exciting episode of the latest and greatest in digital marketing and social media news. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my last podcast episode that explores putting together social media content for your personal brand.